Tuesday, 22 July 2014

How Can I Know For Sure?

David B Garner out of the Westminster Theological Seminary stable has written a little gem of an Apologetic. It is short and sweet. Step by step it progresses from the uncertainty associated with human reason to the certainty of God's revelation. He concludes that the answer to life's big questions must not come from us, but come to us. Philosophy proves nothing and, searchingly, 'at the end of the day there is the end of the day.' Garner touches on the place and importance of the general revelation of God in creation before coming onto the Bible, with God as its source. He briefly sets out its unique claims and internal evidences as the source of truth, but immediately and boldly asserts that this will never be capable of convincing anyone, not because it is not persuasive, but because man is blind - unable to accept divine truth. The work of the Holy Spirit in us, shining, and applying scripture powerfully is dwelt upon in a profitable and pleasing way by Garner at this point. He shows that God's purposes in revealing himself are sovereign and gracious. There are apposite quotes from Calvin and Zwingli.
I dare to think this to be a better booklet to read on ultimate questions than 'Ultimate Questions'! Blanchard's booklet may be said to aim for a response from people, but this is more faithful to their souls and doesn't deceptively 'leave the ball in their court.'
This is the latest in the 'Christian Answers to Hard Questions' series, by P & R Publishing and costs £3.99.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Hannah Dunnett

'Christian' greetings cards - some people love them, some hate them.  We sell lots of greetings cards and because we are a Christian Bookshop they all have scripture texts in them.  Amazingly, although we don't showcase our greetings cards on our website, we still manage to sell a lot of them by mail order (mainly older folk who can't get to a shop and know we are willing to sit on the phone describing cards in detail and reading out the contents so they can make an informed choice!)
Last year we took on a new range of cards painted by artist Hannah Dunnett and these have been so popular I just had to get some pictures on here so a wider audience can see them... (click on each picture to be able to read the words clearly)

People buy these for all occasions, as gifts to go in a frame, or they order the poster sized prints from us. We can also get journals with these fantastic designs on.  Have a look at Hannah's website to see the full range.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Afterwards I Knew by Christine Farenhorst #ChristianFocus

With the centenary of World War 1 there has been a lot of renewed interest in books on the war.  Here is a short review I wrote back in 2010 when this particular book first came out...

I enjoyed this book. A collection of short stories, fictional but based around historical events and facts, they are gripping and each carry a subtle spiritual message. Often the stories finish abruptly or on a cliffhanger leaving you to contemplate what might have been and leading you to reflect on the underlying spiritual implications. The book is aimed at 13+yr olds - I think I come into that category!
Afterwards I Knew: Short Stories from the First and Second World Wars by Christine Farenhorst, published by Christian Focus Publications, £5.99.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

None But Jesus #Flavel

It is as hard for some to look upon other men's gifts without envy, as it is to look upon their own without pride.
How soon would faith freeze without a cross? Bear your cross therefore with joy.
Oh when will you  learn the vanity of self-dependence?
How complete and perfect a cure is Christ!

Just a few quotes from the new None But Jesus in the Pocket Puritans series.  This little book is full of rich and thought-provoking quotes from the writings of John Flavel. Published by Banner of Truth, £3.25.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Patrick of Ireland

Of the Early Church Fathers perhaps none is so remembered in the secular world than (St) Patrick, and few so neglected by evangelical Christians!  It is therefore a joy to discover anew this beacon of Celtic Christianity, reclaimed from outrageous legend and Romish gloss by Michael Haykin.  Whilst it would be going too far to claim the true Patrick (died c. AD 460) as an evangelical - indeed anachronistic - yet his faith seems sound, and certainly orthodox.
Haykin treats as suspect almost all historical data apart from the two different documents definitely ascribed to Patrick - his 'confessions' and a letter to a British chief.  From these we learn that although Ireland was the backdrop for the most significant features of Patrick's spiritual life, he was in fact from Britain.  He was carried captive to Ireland by pirates while a youth, converted during this time, and then managed to escape back to his homeland.  Later he made the momentous and courageous decision to go back to Ireland, now freely as a missionary to bring the gospel of Christ to those who had once been his captors.
Patrick was not some superstitious monk, but a humbly educated man with an intense devotion to his Old Latin Bible.  Haykin provides an assessment of Patrick's belief in the inerrancy of scripture and of its place in the development of his thinking about ministry, mission and doctrine.  Another chapter helpfully discusses Patrick's theology, particularly his Trinitarian creed.  Today's evangelical, who perhaps assumes the Trinity and gives scant thought to it, would be shamed by the fervent commitment of Patrick to the correct understanding of God's nature and being.  Celtic Christians like him were certainly not primitive or doctrinally flabby!  This is recommended reading.  One criticism would be that there is some repetition of material due to the way in which the book is arranged, with Patrick's life and times followed by more detailed specific studies of his thought.
This is the first in a new series edited by Michael A G Haykin called 'Early Church Fathers'.
'Patrick of Ireland. His Life and Impact' p/b £7.99. Christian Focus Publications.
NB. Also available in this series is 'Basil of Caesarea. His Life and Impact'.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Missing Post

We sent a very desirable secondhand set of Samuel Eyles Pierce 'Letters on Spiritual Subjects' out to the US about 6 weeks ago.  They should have taken no more than 2 weeks to arrive, but by the end of last week were nowhere to be seen.  We were gutted to think they might be lost in the post but our customer had more faith - he emailed over the weekend to say ...

With a great deal of thankfulness to the Lord for His great mercy, the books arrived today. I had a hard time believing that the Lord would allow such a treasure to be lost, so for some reason I was granted a strong conviction in the last few days  that they would arrive. Today, Saturday, I was delighted to open the mailbox and find them. What a spiritual treasure they appear to be.
What wonderful news! the Lord's timing is always right and we pray that He will bless the reading of these books.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Bruised Reed

Subtitled 'One Christian's Journey Through Depression', this is an honest account of the depths that can be plumbed in the suffering of depression.  A quick read at only 72 pages this book really packs a punch in informing the reader about some of the thoughts and feelings of one who is suffering from depression, and the ways in which they can be supported and encouraged during this difficult time. Continually the author points us to Scripture, he suggests scriptures that are helpful to the sufferer, some to uplift, others to admonish wrong thinking.  He addresses the issues of self-preoccupation, pride, guilt, anxiety, thankfulness, accountability, worship, love and more. My feeling is that this book will be particularly helpful to carers and friends of the sufferer as it gives a powerful insight into depression from the point of view of one who has suffered. I especially liked the emphasis on the support of the Church family towards a depressed fellow believer.
Practical and biblical, as well as short and snappy, this book comes highly recommended.
A Bruised Reed by Phil Cottrell, published by Evangelical Press, £4.99